Yaoundé born, New York-based fashion designer Nyorh Agwe says her work is a by-product of her life as a nomad. “Through fashion I was able to reconnect myself with my birth culture and I am in a space now where I have embraced all of my nationalities instead of standing by just one,” says Agwe, 20, who grew up between Cameroon, Italy, and the U.S. “My work is bold, colorful, funky, detailed, eclectic, and often in one way or another speaks of my cross cultural experiences as an African growing up anywhere except in Africa.” said the designer.
This past year, Agwe graduated from New York’s Parsons School of Design. Her thesis collection, M’ba M’etta-We the Metta People, is a personal exploration of the disappearing traditional crafts of the Tugi people of northwest Cameroon, specifically the dyeing of raffia cloth. “All explorations and experiences—from walking through the bush, to peeling and dyeing raffia, to weaving and manipulating raffia—drove the end result of this collection,” Agwe shared. “It became a proclamation that I am Metta and as such it is my duty to not just watch my culture disappear or become under-appreciated. The collection is a reminder to others, as well as to the Metta People, just how special we are.”
Her post-graduate continuation of this work, titled Leftovers, is a jewellery line made of recycled materials from her previous collections (A few months ago, Ghanaian singer-songwriter Jojo Abot donned a piece from the collection at the Face2Face Awards in New York City).